Over 72,000 people attended Electronica 2012 this year, and the energy that mounted over the course of the days here in Munich, Germany gave all of us in attendance important and positive messages to take home and bring into 2013. Among those messages were certainly the heavy focus on sectors that are likely to see more robust growth in 2013 plus: automotive, medical, energy efficient solutions, lighting & smart grid, as we reviewed Friday. The number of new products, excitement and optimism for 2013 left us all with the feeling that everyone was ready to move past the current economic problems faced in Europe.
Auto holds 2013 growth promise for semi
There was a distinctly heavy focus on the embedded market, even beyond the Embedded Platforms Conference held on Nov. 14-15th . Included in the embedded discussions automotive solutions featured prominently and created a nice bridge from the previous days' Automotive Conference, as we discussed early last week. Of particular note, is the migration to longer product life cycles diversifying away from the consumer arena, which holds promise as a sustainable market approach for the supply chain supporting this sector.
Being in Germany, Electronica provided the perfect setting for semiconductor manufacturers to roll out their new technologies for the growing automotive market. The quality requirements and standards to support the product life cycle with sustained quality continues to get more stringent as the industry innovates but with safety continuing to be the greatest focus. The result of these concerns and foci were the notable collaborations forged, both older ones on display and the new ones forged during Electronica. Meanwhile, the excitement around the growth potential for automotive electronics and semi held center stage, as underscored by the amount of vetting of technology that was in full force.
2013 optimism and spending
Perhaps the most important take-away from last week is that most customers are cautiously optimistic going into 2013. There was an obvious amount of financial confidence, from discussions in sessions, forecasted CAPEX, and 2013+ solutions on display. But there were also the obvious and quite tangible economic confidences on display, namely the significant budgets supporting the exhibitors and the large number of visitors – while a rather pedestrian variable set, these can be seen as a good indicator of this type of financial confidence, particularly compared to years where more restrained displays and attendance was normative.
To this end, the macro-economic discussions were notable. Important among them was the discussion of a European rebound expected during early 2013; the settling of leadership in the US and China, and the hopes that more financial spending by consumers and enterprises will finally happen.
But with the lessons learned from recent economic events, agility is an essential requirement in this current buyer's market. OEM's are going to continue to evaluate their metrics and keep inventories and exposure to a minimum. To this end, it was well noted that Smith is at the forefront of agility, and that our customer centric programs and supply chain models offer the flexibility needed to meet the complex market demands going into 2013 and beyond.